June 28, 2016 Every perfect gift

Hello my love,

I started working on your swing set.  It had been lying in a pile under the deck since I had brought it back from the old house.  I went through the pieces, board by board, trying to figure out which ones I could keep and which needed to be replaced.    I want to keep as much of the original set as possible, but some pieces are just too worn.  It used to rock and sway so bad as you swung back and forth.  I guess I have to rebuild it a little bit stronger if I want to swing on it.  We used to spend so much time out at that swing…even in the cold.  You loved that swing, which is why I had hoped it would feel good to work on it.  But..piece by piece, memory after memory flooded my thoughts.  I thought about the big red ball we used to keep in the back yard and how I would toss it to you while you were swinging toward me and you would kick it.  Most times it would go straight up in the air, but sometimes it would come right back at me and I’d ham it up and pretend that it knocked me over.  You’d laugh so hard I was always afraid you’d fall off the swing.  That laugh could cure any foul mood I happened to be in. Always.  It was such a gift, and “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,…” (James 1:17)

It’s raining right now.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve always liked the rain and I really, really enjoy thunderstorms.  I remember always having you in my lap or holding on to you as big storms rolled through.  I don’t know if you liked them, or just got a kick out of how much I liked them.  I used to watch them with such enthusiasm, now they are just perspective, a reminder of how small I really am when measured against something so great and powerful.  Sometimes I like to think God sent the rain just for me, so I can close my eyes, turn my face towards the sky and let the rain just wash my tired eyes.  Like I said, I really do like the rain.  I feel bad about writing that bit though.  There’s a whole a lot of people in WV suffering because of the rain.  Lost loved ones, lost homes…I’ve been praying for them, but I’m going to find a way to do more than that.  I know they’re asking the same question, the only question.  A question as old as suffering itself…why?  What did I do to deserve this?  Certainly, what feels like punishment, is exactly that.  Right?  Maybe I’ll find out one day.  I think deep down, I know the answer, I didn’t do anything to deserve this suffering.  Coincidentally, “Why do I deserve to go to Heaven?” What have I done to justify Jesus suffering on the cross, for me?”   Nothing.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Did I deserve it in either case?  No. Although, I will admit, sometimes I want to believe I deserved it just so I have a reason to be angry, but I know better.  The rain falls on the just and unjust alike… “44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45)

A rainy day sort of symbolizes my life right now, where I am with my grief.  It’s no longer the violent storm I once wrote about.  More like a sad, dreary, day.  A certain Bill Withers song comes to mind…

Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
Only darkness every day.
Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone
And this house just ain’t no home

It’s just so sad around here without your smiling face.  And I cannot stand seeing Mommy struggle so much, knowing there really isn’t anything I can say or do other than just hold on to her and pray.  Her pain is mine too.  Part of praying for her to feel better almost feels a little selfish, like it will help me feel better.  I don’t think either of us really know what better is.  How could we?  I don’t think we’ll know happiness until it finds us.  I like to imagine it as a moment when I can smile, because I’m thinking about you smiling at the fact that I’m smiling.

It was a beautiful weekend, but those seem to be the hardest.  It didn’t help that it coincided with the five month mark.  I don’t think I had ever been apart from you for more than five days, probably more like two, but one was one too many and it still is.  I feel mocked every time I see something wonderful and can’t share it with you.  The evening before, I went outside and there must have been 1000 fireflies in the yard.  It was like we had a back yard full of little twinkling stars.  Clara would love this…  Inevitably, a moment like that will lead to some very tough thoughts.  I’m getting a little better at fighting them off.  I suppose it’s easier to defend yourself when you see it coming.  Most of the troubling thoughts, when you really stop and analyze them, have a common theme, or goal you might say.  Surely, I’ll be miserable the rest of my life; There must have been something I could have done;  There had to be another way for me to become faithful to Jesus;  God is surely punishing me.  How can a good and loving God do this?…It may be a stretch, but to me, they are all trying to get me to give up and start questioning the one truth that has given me any kind of peace.  The oldest trick in the book: “But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.” ( Genesis 3:4 )   

One foot in this life, one in the next.  My mind trapped between painful memories and an uncertain future.  You took my heart with you when you left to be with Jesus.  It’s ok, you can keep it, I’ll just have to grow a new one  🙂   Besides, I don’t ever want to lose sight of what’s really important:

34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (Luke 12:34)

I miss you baby girl.

Love Daddy

 

luke phillips katy phillips clara phillips

 

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13 thoughts on “June 28, 2016 Every perfect gift

  1. Sharon Runkles

    I read your every post. I feel for you, your wife and family. You have a special bond, love with Clara that not many parents get to have. I wish you could somehow let the guilt go, hopefully in time you will. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain, the sorrow, the hurt you are feeling. I don’t know how you face each day. You seem to be a strong person who has so much support from family and friends. You did mention in your post the one question we all ask is “Why” We sometimes will never know the answer or understand why. I will continue to follow your posts, it shares the love and special bond you have with her. I hope this writing helps you in many ways, especially to realize it wasn’t your fault, your not to blame or think you let her down.

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  2. goldilaks

    Oh Luke, I love your posts, even though it makes my heart ache for you every time I read them. What you have endured is the scariest and worst thing I can ever imagine. Does reading about your experiences make me feel that somehow I can keep the same random fate from falling on my family? No, I know that’s not even possible, and if anything it just makes me more afraid, but it also helps me remember how fragile life is and to hold my daughter a little longer and a little closer. I hope that writing is somehow cathartic for you, even just a little. I know you don’t write your letters for us, but I hope it helps to know that we are out here reading and thinking of your Clara. I’m really glad to read that deep down you know you didn’t do anything to deserve this sort of pain. You have deep love for your daughter and will always give everything of yourself for her. You do not deserve this. I’m hurting for your poor Katy… it’s good she has you to hold onto. Wishing you a little peace…

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  3. Dianne

    I read your post every time; mostly with tears; always with reverence and compassion towards you and your lovely wife; I’m so sorry for your circumstances; I can’t think of anything more sad for a parent; more devastating. I am so very happy that you gain your strength in the Lord; for without Him, where would we be? Your little, beautiful Clara is already there; in Jesus’ arms; you have embraced Him, and I pray it comforts you to know that one day you will be, as well; and you will see her again.

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  4. Beth D

    I continue to pray for you and Katy and Sissy and continue to cry when I read your letters to Clara because, like all of us, we can’t even imagine your pain. I know God will get you through but I’m not completely sure what that “through” is. I can only pray for you and weep for you as you continue to struggle through each day. Clara’s going to help you build that swing! Perhaps you could build a double seated swing out of her old set – something you and Katy could sit in and swing on and remember the laughs and the happiness and the love that you shared with your precious Clara. I don’t know. I can’t even begin to walk in your shoes and can’t pretend that I could. I just pray that you and Katy continue to hold each other tight and somehow help each other through each day. I pray for you Luke, I cry for you and I wish for you. But I am nobody, only God can get you through this. I just hope he sent us to let you know that you are not alone and that you have a village praying for you and Katy.

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    1. imissyouclara Post author

      Thanks Beth, and believe me, you’re not “nobody” to me. Anyone that takes time from their day the read what I’ve written and offer words of support helps me out tremendously. Christ works through people, I’ve seen that, and tend to get help right when I need it, even if it’s only a small comment on a small blog. Thanks again. -Luke

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  5. Gara cannon

    Keep writing Luke. Keep believing and loving. Eye has not see. Nor ear has not heard the things Jesus had waiting for Katy.

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  6. Valerie Taylor

    Hi Luke, when my son Corey died I too kept asking “will I feel this way forever?” Was there anyone out there that could tell me the answer? It’s been nineteen years since he died and yes, God kept His promise to me. Many wonderful things have happened to our family. God gave us a church that never stopped supporting us. Kyle graduated from high school, then college, married and now has a baby on the way. I think of Corey everyday when I wake up and again when I go to sleep but I see now I have a life to live, a story to tell, and a purpose. A wise person once said to me “this is a terrible thing that has happened to you now what are you going to do with it?” You too will find your purpose. Valerie Taylor

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  7. Beth

    Luke,
    I am always thinking of you and your sweet wife, Katy…praying over you as you put one foot in front of the other.on this earth without precious Clara. I, of course, cannot imagine what you are going through, but I am a parent and know that losing any of my children would bring utter heartbreak. Your posts are hugely impactful to me and give me a lot to think about. I am a Christ follower and believe deeply in prayer and receiving His Grace. You are a living and breathing testimony to the power of His healing and love through a dark period of life. The way you write and compose such beautiful letters to Clara is touched by and inspired by the Lord, no doubt. If i were in your shoes, I cannot imagine being filled by such overflowing of faith & clarity. But, you do shed light on the fact that He is with us no matter our circumstances.If we ask, we will receive. Prayer is working mightily in your life, I just hear it in your words. Praying and believing that there will be a purpose in the pain. By the way, the depth and look in Clara’s eyes in this post moved me more than any others. She was clearly a very special (and beautiful!!) individual… and her spirit continues to be in heaven (!) ….as you wait to hold her again.
    Beth

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